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Sexual selection on cuticular hydrocarbons in the Australian field cricket, Teleogryllus oceanicus

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-9-162

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We found that all three measures of male attractiveness generated sexual selection on male cuticular hydrocarbons, however there were differences in the form and intensity of selection among these three measures. Mating success was the only measure of attractiveness that imposed both univariate linear and quadratic selection on cuticular hydrocarbons. Although we found that all three attractiveness measures generated nonlinear selection, again only mating success was found to exert statistically significant stabilizing selection.This study shows that sexual selection plays an important role in the evolution of male cuticular hydrocarbon signals.It is common in natural populations for individuals of one sex, usually the female, to prefer certain phenotypic trait values over others in their choice of mates. Female preferences for male sexual signals are responsible for a spectacular array of phenotypic diversity found in the natural world, driving the evolution of exaggerated traits such as colouration [1], conspicuous ornaments [2,3], and song [4,5]. Females have also been found to base their choice of mate on pheromone signals. Although less well studied, pheromone signals are subject to the same kinds of natural and sexual selective forces that shape visual and auditory signals [6]. However, our understanding of the processes driving the evolution of pheromones is significantly less well developed.Cuticular hydrocarbons are chemical compounds found on the cuticle of most terrestrial arthropods. These compounds have been studied extensively for their role as signals in mate and species recognition, and ecology [7,8]. Cuticular hydrocarbons are highly sexually dimorphic in a range of species, with many of the compounds present in one sex but absent in the other, while shared compounds often differ quantitatively between the sexes [see [9] for review]. Such sexual dimorphism is expected to result from sex-specific selection. Despite the large number of species that di

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